Comic-book writer Warren Ellis has been pushing a book called Finder on his forum for quite some time now. Finder is a soft sci-fi series by Carla Speed McNeil. It’s not an easy book to describe, but if you go out to her Web site, you can learn a bit more about it.
The comic gets a lot of acclaim and when Carla popped up on Warren’s forum, saying she had copies for sale straight from her site and that the first collection was very nearly sold out, I ponied up and bought a copy, straight from her.
So, it arrived in the mail today. I opened the mailer and pulled out a copy of the first trade paperback (“Sin Eater”) and several folded sheets of paper. “Hm, what’s these?” I wondered. “Too much paper here to be a receipt.”
When I opened them, I saw three pages of pencil sketches by Carla.
She apparently works in breakdowns before drawing each issue. What that means is she makes rough sketches of the panels that will appear on each page. This technique helps artists work out storytelling problems and create a sense of the flow of each issue. Think of it as storyboarding a movie before filming. She also apparently drafts her captions and dialogue balloons on those pages. Even though the Web site clearly states “All orders will include original production sketches while supplies last” I didn’t notice it.
Here’s links to the finished version of the pages she sent me:
I have earlier versions of page 14 (minus the captions) and an early version of the top half of page 15, including rough captions and dialogue.